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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 9:21 p.m., Sunday, February 11, 2007

'Slack Key' wins Grammy for best Hawaiian music album

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

By Derek Paiva

Advertiser Entertainment Writer

The live, vocal and instrumental compilation "Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar -- Live From Maui" has won this year's Grammy award for best Hawaiian music album.

Grammys were awarded to producers Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong.

The wins were the second in the category for Ho, Konwiser and Wong, who won last year's best Hawaiian music album Grammy for the live, multi-artist instrumental and vocal compilation "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 1."

Maui ki ho'alu master and music educator Kahumoku's win was his first.

The win for producers Ho, Konwiser and Wong gave the trio bragging rights to being the first to score second Grammys in the three-year-old category and the first to win back-to-back Grammys in the category.

The award was presented to the producers this afternoon at a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center before the Grammy Awards prime-time awards telecast at the neighboring Staples Center.

Other nominated albums in the category were: "Generation Hawai'i" by Amy Hanaiali'i, "Grandmaster Slack Key Guitar" by Ledward Ka'apana, "The Wild Hawaiian" by Henry Kapono, and the multiartist vocal and instrumental compilation "Hawaiian Slack Key Kings," produced by Chris Lau and Milton Lau.

Joining the winning producers on stage were musicians Ka'apana, Richard Ho'opi'i and Peter deAquino and Garrett Probst of Da Ukulele Boys, all of whom contributed live tracks to the winning album.

Before accepting the award, the entire group paused at the microphone to sing the chorus of "Hawai'i Aloha" a capella for the audience.

Everyone on stage then spoke, thanking each other, their families and musicians on the album who couldn't attend.

"It's equally as exciting!" said Ho backstage, of his second Grammy win. "We jumped around. I hugged everyone in sight. I hugged people I don't know. ... But I think the coolest thing was just singing 'Hawai'i Aloha' together. Uncle George (Kahumoku Jr.) said, 'Let's sing a chorus together!' So we did."

Kahumoku's acceptance speech stressing the importance of funding music and arts education in the public school curriculum won him a standing ovation from the audience.

Tracks on the "Legends" compilation (and last year's winning "Masters" disc) were culled from live performances at Kahumoku's weekly Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar concerts at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. Besides Ho, Kahumoku, Ho'opi'i, Ka'apana, deAquino and Probst, other musicians on the winning album included Keoki Kahumoku (George's son), Cyril Pahinui, Martin Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi, Bobby Ingano and Ozzie Kotani.

Multi-artist slack-key based compilations have now swept the best Hawaiian music album category for three years running. The category's first-ever Grammy went to the instrumental, multi-artist compilation "Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2" in 2005. Three of the five discs nominated this year were ki ho'alu based — the exceptions being vocal-driven albums by Hanaiali'i and Kapono.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8005.